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How Saeter Robbed the Underworld

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The day before his coming-of-age ceremony, Eirik has a fight with his best friend—who had pointed out that, adopted by a pair of traveling warriors as Eirik was, how can he know who his ancestors are to celebrate them? Embarrassed and angry, he's not in the mood for the story his fathers insist on telling him.

Despite himself, however, Eirik becomes engrossed in the tale of the son of the god of Love who has never felt pain, and the son of the god of Envy who always does, how they struggle with each other and their community, and how, ultimately, they trick the underworld out of a very special prize.

An M/M fantasy romance with bisexual protagonists. Full of found family, daring rescues, shape-shifting tricksters, and Norse-inspired mythology.

69 pages, ebook

First published April 25, 2018

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About the author

Meredith Katz

16 books180 followers
Author of LGBT+ romance and speculative fiction! Likes humans, monsters, and the hazy places between the two.
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Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews
Profile Image for Elena.
848 reviews92 followers
December 15, 2019
3.5 stars

Written almost like a fairy tale, this lovely, imaginative short story had vivid characters, Saeter in particular, that left me wanting more, in a good way. My first book by this author and it won’t be the last.
Profile Image for Devann.
2,443 reviews139 followers
May 3, 2018
I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley

This was so cute! The format is a 'story within a story' where a kid is upset because he had a fight with one of his friends so his dads tell him a story about a pair of demi-gods to help him realize what he needs to do. I'll admit that at first I was kind of like 'do we really NEED the part about the family telling the story' because it didn't take up very much of the page space, but at the end it all really ties together and I was very happy with it.

According to the author's Goodreads page this book has:
* A fantasy-mythological setting loosely based on Norse mythology
* Cute demigods with feelings firmly in It's Complicated territory
* A shape-shifting trickster
* A daring rescue
* Found family feels

And I definitely think that pretty much covers it all. Also glad to know that all the Norse mythology stuff I was picking up was intentional because I was sitting here like 'ok there are obviously some similarities but also I'm OBSESSED with Norse mythology so am I imagining a bit of it?'. Saeter is definitely a very Loki-esque character and the main story this one seems to draw on is the Loki/Baldur/mistletoe one, although I definitely caught snatches of other influences as well. It was a really fun short story and I would definitely recommend it to any Loki fans that are running out of books to read ;) or just anyone who likes a cute M/M fantasy short.
Profile Image for Kayla.
1,583 reviews65 followers
March 19, 2019
I'm participating in the buzzword readathon this week. The words for the readathon are Who, What, Where, When Why, and How. Due to that, I recently decided to pick up How Saeter Robbed the Underworld, which had been on my TBR for a long time. I thought it was a really cute short story.

How Saeter Robbed the Underworld has one of my favorite tropes in it. I like it when books tell a story within a story. It was interesting to meet the different characters, and see how everything connected in the end. The story that Eirik's father told was cute, yet meaningful. I also very much appreciated the LGBTQ+ representation. It's hard to find short stories that pull that off well. I do have to admit that I saw the plot twist at the end. Even though I thought it was a cute short story, there was nothing that really made it stand out, or for me to think it was worthy of five stars.

I do have to admit, I really liked Eirik. I would love to have a full book about his friendship with Leif, their fight, and what happens after. I want more of his character. I always think it would be interesting to see him interact with his siblings more, especially because he is the oldest one. I think it would also be great to learn about the ceremony he went through.

I thought that How Saeter Robbed the Underworld was a cute short story. I enjoyed reading it. Even though I enjoyed it, it was more of a three star read. I think that's because I just wanted more details, especially about Eirik. I will definitely read more of this author's other works, especially any longer LGBTQ+ fiction that she might have written. I look forward to it.
Profile Image for Alison.
771 reviews29 followers
May 3, 2020
Likeable. I enjoyed this, but I didn't have particularly strong feelings about it. I read it about a month ago and the details have faded already.
Profile Image for Henna.
558 reviews32 followers
May 30, 2018
How Saeter Robbed the Underworld is a short story, which is a fantasy based loosely on Norse mythology with demigods and shape-shifting and a daring rescue. It's told in a story within story way; Eirik is in a bad mood night before his coming-of-age ceremony, so his fathers tell a story to Eirik and his two adopted siblings a tale of two demigods, the sons of the god of Love and son of the god of Envy.

I loved the story of two travelling warriors, who had adopted Eirik and two other orphans, and the domestic feel that the story had when they started to tell a tale on the camp fire. More than that, I absolutely loved the tell they told; of Saeter, who's son of the god of Envy and who always felt pain and envy, and of Skault, who's son of the god of Love and who never felt any pain because everyone loved him and were unable to harm him. Oh, how bittersweet the story seemed with Saeter feeling so alone and hated while his friend Skault was loved by everyone. Skault's a sweetheart but it was Saeter's pain and anguish that I was able to feel. Of course, everything changed when something tragic happened and a daring rescue to the Underworld happened, and it was just so thrilling and captivating from beginning to the end.

How Saeter Robbed the Underworld is a perfect example of a short story that works within the limited word limit beautifully. It's captivating, charming and unique story that is fully fleshed out with nicely paced plot and plenty of character development. I'm amazed how well the story worked, and while I'd love to read full novel, this was enough. This might just be the best executed short story that I've ever read.

I highly recommend How Saeter Robbed the Underwold, because it's a captivating and stunning story with complicated characters and relationships, and it's simply so beautiful.

(A copy of this ebook was provided in return for an honest review.)
Profile Image for Josalynne Balajadia.
366 reviews10 followers
February 15, 2022
Cute novella about two parents who whip out a mythological bedtime story for their children. The story happens to coincide with an issue their eldest child is dealing with.

It has some sweet parenting moments and hits the storytelling appeal. There were lots of m/m pairings and rep as well as a society that normalizes same sex relationships.

The biggest draw here is definitely the appeal of having a myth told to you. If that is something you enjoy, you might enjoy this short novella as well.
Profile Image for Dannica.
728 reviews26 followers
September 26, 2020
Ow, this one is really angsty! I enjoyed it a lot though. Poor Saeter and Skault really going through it.
It also just has those fun fairy tale/mythical vibes which Katz is really great at (as I've seen before in Hair to the Throne and Beauty and Cruelty).
Profile Image for Sheeraz.
424 reviews7 followers
July 6, 2023
Sweet fantasy queer romance! Told as a bed-time story dipping in and out of the present, we learn about two demigods, one loved by all and the other, the shape-shifting trickster. Yet, growing together, their lives are enmeshed into a tight-knit friendship that blossoms into romantic love. When a misunderstanding lands one of them in the Underworld doomed for eternal torture, the other must risk it all to save his beloved.

Short and sweet with the backdrop of a non-judgmental world of humans and gods. I would have liked to dive deeper into the setting, and I hope there's more to come!
Profile Image for Pam.
849 reviews23 followers
October 27, 2019
The mythological tale at the center of this is great, and I would recommend it for anyone who likes the myths + m/m combo. I was fascinated with these stories as a kid, and this one captured that feeling perfectly, including the relevant lesson to impart.

I enjoyed it, and the writing is fantastic. Saeter's emotional headspace was so vivid and truly gut-wrenching in the moment. I felt for him deeply and wanted to make it all better for him. I look forward to trying more from this author for sure.

But this is a shortie, and I think I wanted just a tiny bit more. Just a tiny bit! But then I re-read the intro just now and thought hmmmm.... maybe I already got more... :)

It's really impressive when something so short can capture your imagination to the point you want to revisit it to comb through the details! Plus I liked that there were little hints dropped here and there that had me playing along trying to predict what was going to happen, both in the central tale being told and with the characters in the surrounding framework. I think a few more sentences exchanged between the dads at the end could have made this perfect for me, but it's a truly lovely tale as is.

**This book was provided for free by the author in exchange for an honest review via the MMRG Don’t Buy My Love Program**
Profile Image for Liberté.
230 reviews
September 18, 2021
I really enjoyed this novella, the second I've read by Katz. It's a folk story-within-a-story (the opening frame put me in mind of the film adaptation of The Princess Bride) and I liked the development of the characters in both ~parts. I did . I already really enjoyed the mythology Katz developed here; it really feels like a world into which one could step (perhaps through a cupboard or a looking glass).
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,369 reviews87 followers
February 22, 2022
This is a very quick read-- bisexual demigods in a frame story. The narration and general setting have an unspecified but generic history/mythology feel-- open fire, huts, roast goat-- that I read as quasi-Greek but could be just about anything. It's very clear that the focus of the story isn't on the world-- which isn't built so much as sketched out in broad strokes-- or the universe's mythology-- which barely names any deities other than the two involved. With a very small cast, the focus is kept firmly on the main characters in the frame story. Suggested generally for fantasy readers looking for a Sunday afternoon -type read.
Profile Image for Alexis Hubsky.
296 reviews24 followers
March 12, 2021
Characters 5| Setting 4| Plot 4| Writing 5| Enjoyability 5|

Overall rating 4.6

I just want to say wow. This story was fantastic! I didn't really know what I was expecting going in, but the characters were so well done! The writing was excellent and Katz did a magnificent thing with their prose.

Saeter was such a relatable character and I could feel his hurt so deep in my soul. I cried at a lot of places in this work and let me tell you it's not that long! To create a work so short yet make me feel so much? Katz is a master at their craft.

Profile Image for Loz.
1,448 reviews17 followers
July 23, 2018
Really evocative, very queer story. I really liked it. Beautiful imagery, compelling characters.
Profile Image for RP.
177 reviews16 followers
April 5, 2020
A Norse-inspired fairy tale about the love between the son of the god of Love and the son of the god of Envy. Very sweet and enjoyable!
Profile Image for Caroline Duvezin.
477 reviews13 followers
August 27, 2020
A really lovely little m/m story with a frame narrative - teenage boys are gonna teenage, be they human or demigods, and love will win in the end :)
Profile Image for blub.
2,040 reviews
October 18, 2019
This was cute well paced story. As the blurbs alludes this book has a story within a story and through this Eirik gets the answer of how to handle an argument he had with his friend and a very sublte hint about his ancestry which was a very nice surprise at the end of the book.

I loved getting to know Saeter and Skault, their history, and the misunderstanding which lead to their harrowing life or death adventure. Saeter's pain resonated well off the pages . I really felt bad for him and could easily relate to his feelings of inadequacy and loneliness. I really liked that both Saeter and Skault were welling to go above and beyond to right a wrong and in this case it turned out well for them.

A free copy was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ali.
1,910 reviews12 followers
October 27, 2019
I really enjoyed this story. I liked the wat Saeter and Skault's story was told by the fathers. I felt for those characters along with Eirik.

There was a little twist of information at the end which just makes me wonder some things but didn't take away from my enjoyment.

I received a copy of this book and am providing an honest review.
Profile Image for Ana.
946 reviews
April 19, 2018
A bittersweet and unusual story, entertaining, charming, with a lot of emotions and beautiful characters.

After having a fight with his best friend, Eirik is not in the mood to listen to the story his father is telling. But getting to know about the son of the god of Love who has never felt pain, and the son of the god of Envy who always does, start being more related to his own story than he could expect.

It is really hard to tell what it is about without giving much away. I'm just saying there's more to the story than the blurb gives away. It's fast paced and easy to read, enjoyable and with a writing style that remind me of fairy tales. I loved the way it was written but most of all I loved the characters. Among them, the one that I liked the most was Saeter. He wasn't good. He did bad things, but I think getting to know what was on his mind made him a more likable character. I do think there was a lot of love in him and even though the story wasn't extremely romantic, it did have some lovely moments.

Recommended to readers who like fantasy books with low heat level and M/M pairing.

The Romance Review
Profile Image for Courtney.
144 reviews
May 3, 2018

I enjoyed this book so, so much. I love stories within stories and found family set-ups, and How Saeter Robbed the Underworld combined these two in the best of ways, resulting in a beautifully crafted, heartfelt and moving story. The scenes of Eirik’s family interspaced between the story told by the fathers are full of warmth and sincerity; the safe and comforting atmosphere is present throughout even despite Eirik’s predicament with his friend and the effect it has had on him. There is a clear sense of how important Eirik’s family is to him, how the words from his friend hurt, and how he connects with the tale of Saeter and Skault.

I enjoyed the tale itself just as much (despite being very worried about them in places) and loved how through their conflicts, you could consistently feel the affection they had for each other. It was a perfect bedtime story, from the way it was told to the interlude of reassurance that things would end well.

The breaks between the different sections were excellently timed and balanced and I loved Eirik’s candid and analytical commentary, in both the narration and his direct responses to his fathers asking him about it. There were many small details, such as certain reactions from the fathers about parts of the story and the recurring animal symbolism in the tale, that made everything feel all the more satisfying and well-rounded.

Just as with The Cybernetic Teashop, I desperately want an audiobook version of this too. It would be a great experience to hear the tale of Saeter and Skault actually narrated in the way Eirik’s fathers tell him the story (and for this reason, I plan to read the story to my fiancé so we can both enjoy it in this way).

Meredith Katz crafts wonderful, heartfelt novellas, bringing to life characters you can’t help but feel connected to even in the short space of time you get to know them. I can’t wait to read more of her works in the future.
Profile Image for Stephanie Livingston-Bujold.
175 reviews4 followers
July 21, 2018
If MM relationships bother you then you need to pass this one by.
This was an interesting fable style story that has a message/ lesson. I did find myself engrossed in the crone's description as I don't have much experience with this.
Displaying 1 - 25 of 25 reviews

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